Fox45 News

Shelley Orman

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) – With the repeal option dead for now, Marylanders are turning their attention to what’s next for improving healthcare.

“There are still hurdles in the way, but Marylanders should treat the Affordable Care Act, I believe, as here to stay,” said Vincent DeMarco, with the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

Health advocates who have supported the Affordable Care Act view Friday as a firm turning point in the health care debate.

“I went to sleep at 10 p.m., I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with this sense of anxiety about what was going on,” said Ramar Robinson. He’s a Medicaid recipient and says he can sleep easier knowing his coverage isn’t changing.

Instead of thinking of repeals, DeMarco says Marylanders need to start thinking of fixes.

“We’ve been so focused on defending the Affordable Care Act from destruction that we haven’t had time really to think about what are the changes that can make the Affordable Care Act better,” he said.

Future changes will probably take a joint effort from Republicans and Democrats.

Congressman Andy Harris, Maryland’s only representative to vote for the repeal, says the state’s current system is not sustainable.

“Here in Maryland, we are down to two insurers now. We started with five. We’re down to two. The largest insurer asked for a 58 percent increase on their most popular plan. It is not working,” said Harris.

Whether the two sides can work together on a change isn’t clear.

“The minority in the Senate has been stunningly obstructive on this issue,” said Harris. “You just can’t have, you can’t craft a solution without bipartisan cooperation. In the end it looks like that’s what it is going to take. I think the people who are just fighting the Trump agenda, I think they’re not going to want to participate in this.”

“They made clear at 2:30 this morning. What they want to vote for are reasonable, smart measures, bipartisan measures to make the Affordable Care Act better,” said DeMarco.

Here in Maryland, the bipartisan effort at the state level starts soon.

Next Tuesday, on August 1. a newly created commission, the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission, will meet in Annapolis to discuss the current state of Maryland’s health care.


Last modified: July 31, 2017